by Skip Cohen
It's a typical Sunday morning, and like every day of the week, one of the first things that happen is that one of us picks the music to play. We've got one Alexa tower and four of the "hockey pucks," all playing throughout the day through various sound systems. From music by "Back to Earth" to Chris Stapleton, Jack Johnson, and even the Boston Pops, the house is always filled with music. But lately, Alexa hasn't been listening to any of the commands, especially when we want her to stop, pause or change stations. She seems to have a mind of her own.
Well, it got me thinking about how many times a week I fight with a robot. This past week I fought with robots at Amazon, FedEx, Frontier Communications, and American Express. Even the telemarketing calls, most often from law enforcement fund-raisers, start with a pre-recorded message, often so real I start out thinking it's a live body I'm about to turn down.
For those of you old enough to remember, or just film aficionados, we're now living with the Hal 9000 from "2001, A Space Odyssey." This morning, no matter what I told Alexa, she wouldn't stop playing. And when I asked her why, she responded, "I don't know that one."
Ever notice how good it makes you feel when you finally get through all the prompts in corporate America and talk to a live body? I used to be grateful if they spoke English, but as more companies move Customer Service offshore, I'm now happy if I get around the robot and technology.
I've got no answers to solving the problems of communication in the world or my frustrations. I just wanted to point out how much we've given up to pre-recorded messages, single-button defaults, and logic when talking to the robots. However, I have discovered that no matter how much they take over the gateways to communications, there's still a certain satisfaction to using the F-bomb!
Wishing all of you a day of minimal frustrations and time to enjoy everyone in your life with an actual heartbeat. We're on the backside of the pandemic in most areas - so get back to those eleven-second therapeutic hugs. Take the time to cherish being alive, with people you love, and talking with friends whose only programming has been what's happened in their lives, especially when you were there.
Here's one to try on Monday morning, if you've got Alexa: "Alexa, skip to Friday!"
Happy Sunday...or Monday, if you're on the other side of the world.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.